Having good quality tools makes all the difference in decorating. I’ve been a professional painter for almost 20 years, and I’d struggle to achieve a good finish with cheap kit, particularly brushes and rollers. I thought I’d take a little bit of time to sit down and write about what I think are the best paint rollers on the market. I really hope you find it useful.
First of all, you should steer clear of DIY type tools and opt for the brands us decorators use. That means staying away from places like B&Q or Homebase and opting for trade paint outlets. There are various places online you could look at which I’ll link in as I go (no, I’m not on commission).
Purdy Colossus Paint Roller
I thought I’d start with the brand I’ve been using throughout my career. The Purdy colossus holds and distributes a ridiculous amount of paint over large areas. Perfect for masonry paint, mist coating or ceilings.
The Purdy Colossus roller comes as a 9, 12 or 18 inch, so just opt for the size which suits the size of the area you’re painting. Although if you’re in doubt, go for the 9 inch, as you’ll be able to use it anywhere.
As mentioned above, the colossus roller spreads a huge amount of paint, so it is perfect for applying thick coats quickly and easily. It is one of the best out there, but there are a couple of disadvantages. Firstly, this roller sleeve will leave a slight texture on your paint finish, so take care to lay off your wall or ceiling once you’ve applied the paint.
The second disadvantage is the roller sleeve sheds little blue fibres on the first run out. It is fine from the second use onwards. I often wrap and unwrap a new roller with duct tape, which pulls any rogue fibres out. You can buy these online by clicking here, or from any good trade paint outlet.
Rota (Dualon Polyamide Medium Pile)
I thought I’d mention the Rota, simply because they are the best value for money you’ll ever come across when buying paint rollers. Manufactured by Ciret, these beauties are best in medium pile. They come in a variety of sizes, but I generally opt for the 12 inch.
These rollers are primarily used by the trade, however you will also find them in places like Tool Station.
The pick-up and distribution of paint by these rollers is bang on. You can easily achieve a great finish in very little time. I love these paint rollers!!
Hamilton Perfection Green Paint Roller (medium pile)
Hamilton are a brand associated with the trade and these rollers are possibly the most widely used by professional decorators. You can buy them online by clicking here, or basically any trade decorating centre!! Again, as with a lot of medium pile rollers, I prefer to go for 12 inch most of the time. Not just because of the time saved by going big, but it’s also easier to achieve a better finish.
Paint pick-up and distribution are good, but the best attribute to these rollers is how flat and even the paint finish can be. There is barely any texture in the finish at all. I like using Hamilton medium pile for any durable emulsion paints but tend to go for something that holds a bit more material when using cheaper vinyl, or contract matt.
Rota Gold by Ciret are a new paint roller on the market, and one I really love! Available online in limited sizes, this is the only paint roller of its kind that comes with a special coating. They take the extract from the Lotus flower and use it to cover the fibres on the roller.
This coating helps hold onto the paint while it’s in the roller and distribute it more evenly. It also helps reduce spatter and even makes it easier to wash out. As far as paint rollers go, this one is a joy to use.
Best Paint Rollers for Gloss Products
I thought I’d include a little section for gloss, as you will need a certain type of roller to apply this type of paint to good standard. Traditionally, the best oil-based gloss rollers are foam, and most people opt for a 4-inch, or “mini roller”.
There are loads of cheap foam rollers on the market, and they all do a similar job. However, tram marks can be an issue with most of them. One of the best paint rollers to work with when using oil-based gloss is the Rota Premier Concave, which eliminates the problem of tram lines. The end of the roller is, you guessed it, concave, so you don’t get the same paint build-up as you do with most of the others. It makes achieving a good finish a lot easier. Available online.
You need a slightly different approach for water-based gloss, and the standout roller for these products is the Pioneer Velvet Polyflock, which are quite unusual, but very effective. They consist of a foam barrel, with fine flock fibres. These fibres hold onto more paint than traditional foam rollers, but because of the foam base, the paint is pressed flat as you apply it. They’re a bright orange colour too, making them even more unusual. Available online.
Best Roller Frames
OK, I’ve mentioned a few different brands of roller sleeve in the above sections. It may interest you to know that each brand of sleeve is compatible with each brand of roller frame. It may be easier to buy your roller and frame as a kit, or you can do what I do, and cherry pick the best of both worlds.
I don’t like Purdy roller 9-inch cages as they tend to break. However, the Purdy Quick Release for larger roller sleeves is fantastic. Swapping sleeves is made very easy, and they tend to last.
Ciret (Rota) are good for the price you can pick them up for, but if you’re using it every day as I do, they don’t tend to last. Ciret frames might be perfect if you’re a Handyman or DIYer, as you won’t hammer it in the same way a decorator would.
For a 9inch sleeve you should go for the Hamilton Perfection Cage Frame, available online, this sleek paint roller cage offers a robust wooden handle, and a stainless-steel arm and cage. It’s lightweight and the sleeves fit nicely. What more could you ask for?
For a 12inch roller sleeve, go for the Perfection Adjustable Double Arm Frame. The beauty of the “adjustable” is you can use it with 12 and 15inch roller sleeves without issue. This roller frame is manufactured from an aluminium composite which is both robust and very light. Just make sure you remove as much paint as possible at the end of every use or the nuts will jam.
I’m not going to bore you with a whole section on this. Any roller pole with a screw attachment for the frame will work well. You can either go for Purdy or Hamilton.
The Best Paint Rollers on the Market by Mike Gregory
What do Other Decorators Think?
Medium pile Hamilton is the best roller for me. Purdy Colossus are great on smooth walls and ceilings.
I used to use green medium Hamilton rollers for walls, but converted to long pile Arroworthy. I find it holds more paint and gives a better finish. A worn in long pile Hamilton or Purdy Colossus are decent.
I do like microfiber rollers for emulsion. Wooster, Hamilton, or Purdy being my favourite. I like the way they hold plenty of paint. I love the mini-Jumbo 6.5 for cutting in to painting small awkward areas.
I use Mohair sometime for woodwork, but also find the Hamilton perfection smooth white mini rollers work well for water-based finish on wood.
If I use my airless spray rollers set up, I’ll still use the same emulsion rollers for smooth walls/ceilings
I would like to try the Purdy paint rollers and the Arrowworthy ones, but personally I prefer using the Hamilton trade 12″ medium and thick pile rollers. They hold the paint well, plus they’re really easy to clean up. Great price too, so it’s a win win for me personally.
Purdy Colossus are the best paint rollers. I have been for last 15 years. Microfiber offer a different level of finish, but don’t hold much paint and are a hard to wash out.
I use Picasso rollers👍🏻
Rota Dualon long pile paint roller is the best I’ve used for a long time. It holds lots of paint , very little spatter and leaves a great finish.
The best paint roller for ceilings is a 15- inch Rota extra-long pile. It holds loads and gives a flat finish.
For walls: Rota again with the Dualon.
With contract/flat paints: I like the Arrowworthy long pile 12-15 inch. Same when using vinyl and scrubbable paints.
4-inch Albany stain varnish roller for oil-based paints.
Arrowworthy 4-inch for emulsions.
I use the Purdy Colossus or Hamilton Rollers
Did use the Hamilton Green until recently, then tried these Two Fussy Blokes Rollers, which I find great. The only downside is they’ve started to lose bits, which is a shame as I like them. Unless I just got a dodgy batch.
Purdy colossus for me. Since I start to decorate, I’ve tried many different paint rollers and always gone back to Purdy. I have very old Purdy rollers which spray a lot when rolling but leaves very flat finish. The newer ones hold a lot of paint and let you to play with the material until you get the finish you want to achieve. You can use a Purdy Colossus in any type of paint.
When it comes to woodwork, I don’t use anything other than Rota Concave Sponge rollers. You can get very near to spray finish with it. Especially with oil-based paints.
Hamilton green (medium pile) and pinks for me Mike 👍
For a 12” emulsion roller, or the smaller rad rollers, I’m a big fan of good old-fashioned Hamilton. I tried the Albeny ones from Brewers recently, but sent them back. It was a 12-inch sleeve, but it fall apart in emulsion and I was either leaving a horrific finish, or permanently picking fluff off the walls.
Hamilton lambswool rollers have been used by me for many years. They never let me down and give a great finish when using emulsion. However, when it comes to 4-inch mini rollers, I prefer Arroworthy or Two Fussy Blokes. They give a great finish with water-based woodwork finishes.
Rota Gold & Finish are both brilliant. Just not widely available which is a pain!
I love Hamilton green 15” paint rollers for ceilings. Purdy colossus or Prodec Ice Fusion for walls 12” and mini rollers.
Always used Hamilton green paint rollers up until now as they give a nice even and smooth finish. Tried the new Axus sleeve last week, and it was awesome! Minimal spray, holds a decent amount of paint and great finish. Think these will be my ‘go-to’ in future.
Micro fibre all the way. Lovely smooth finish.
Two fussy blokes 4-inch 5mm smooth rollers for woodwork. It gives an excellent finish. Barely need to lay off when used with water-based gloss/satin. Just need to run tape over them first to defuzz them.
Hamilton greens, no tram lines, lovely fine finish and not overpriced
I used to use Hamilton rollers, green ones for your standard emulsions, but they don’t hold enough paint and you have to go over the wall more than twice to get rid of the tram lines.
Picasso or Two Fussy Bloke rollers are my ‘go to’ now. They both hold a lot of paint and leave a flat finish with a light back roll.
For me it’s the Arroworthy rollers. I like the “14 9/16 ones (long pile). I find these paint rollers lay off lovely and hold lots of paint. Maybe a bit of a pain to wash out
When good few years ago. 12-inch for rolling bigger surfaces and 6-inch for cutting, window reveals, small and hard to get areas.
Why? Because it takes lots of paint, splash not too much and spread it well. Even longer pile doesn’t left too much of structure on flat surfaces.
And this is easiest roller to clean. When it comes to emulsion (walls/ceilings) I’m huge fan of Purdy colossus since tried it first time